The super hero movies are on to something and now tennis is adding its own internal dispute. Andy Murray got the ball rolling then Novak Djokovic and company have joined the fray. At this point, it might just be small cracks but have lines been drawn?
Recently Murray said that he wondered how some of his competitors had greatly increased endurance. “I have played against players and thought, ‘They won’t go away,’ or ‘They don’t seem to be getting tired,’ he said, adding that he’s had suspicions about specific players. You hear things.”
That was enough to get the attention of the Djokovic camp. Boris Becker, tennis great and current mentor to Djokovic, spoke up and stated that Murray’s comments were unfounded.
Becker said, “We have random drug testing, and unless it’s proven, they are 100 percent innocent,” he said. “…Andy is one of the fittest players on the tour. He often outlasts other players and nobody is questioning his ethics … It’s a very dangerous subject. I can only repeat that tennis is clean. I believe 100 percent Andy is clean. Roger [Federer] is clean, Rafa [Nadal] is clean, Stan [Wawrinka] is clean. All these guys.”
Djokovic entered the squabble by adding, “As long as there is no proof that somebody is doping, the sport is clean,” but insisted that he had talked to Andy Murray and that everything is fine between the two players. Murray said, “I’ve spoken to Boris and Novak and we’re all good,” Murray said.
On a lighter note, to all the non comic book fans, this is similar to how Captain America and Iron Man were buddies before leading to the epic clash in the upcoming movie, Captain America: Civil War.
Is Murray bitter because he has struggled against top players like Djokovic? Are Becker and Djokovic being naïve in their defense of tennis? The answer could be yes to both questions, but drugs in tennis and all sports is a topic that should not have sides.
Tennis and all sports are supposed to be fair for all competitors and drugs give an advantage. Second place finishers will always feel cheated and front-runners will always have to defend their status.
As for Murray, usually the better player wins but he has a right to speak up. The Scot’s comments are not directed at anyone in particular but the inferences could be made.
On the other hand, Djokovic should not keep his head in the sand. The number one should defend his reputation, but when many other major sports have had their share of doping. It is unrealistic to think tennis is immune.
Moreover, speaking of defense, Rafael Nadal is filing a lawsuit against a former French sports minister who has accused the Spanish star of using illegal drugs. Nadal should take action regarding this allegation. Could this be the start of more such action? Stay tuned.
In the fictional world of comics and movies, the heroes will eventually shake hands and all will be good. Here is to hoping that the leaders of tennis go back to shaking hands across the net and feel that win or lose, they were in a fair battle.